I’ve come back to swimming after about 100-years of being out of practice. Spine and knee injuries had kept me off land with poor aerobic capacity, and I was looking for ways to improve both my fitness and technique. I came upon Swim Smooth’s website and their Swim Type guides.
The concept behind their methodology is based on identifying what kind of swimmer you are. The types are based on common problems encountered with swimming technique that group together like a chain of events. The approach then is to tackle not each individual flaw, but what is causing them to begin with.
First, you determine what your type is by reading descriptions and filling out some info. In my experience, getting yourself on video is king; what you look like while swimming can be very different from your experience of it. In fact, I now use my smartphone as a tool to track my progress, by videoing every couple of months, and using instant-playback at the pool.
Each 18-20 page PDF guide for a particular swim type is written in a clear and concise language, and includes four sessions that work directly on what it is that makes your stroke wonky in a sequential manner. There are different ways to use them; you can incorporate them into your swimming routine, concentrate on one before moving on to the next. I cycled through them religiously for about three months, meaning 1-2-3-4 every week. My stroke and fitness both improved, allowing me to begin training for endurance. Before I was simply out of breath after just one lap. I now go deeper into one session for a number of weeks, with two other different swim sets thrown in. It’s up you how to keep using them once you have improved.
There’s also a nifty app featuring an animation of the ideal freestyle stroke. You can control the speed and view from different angles. Sometimes while I’m swimming, a question about a movement pops up and I like to go back to the animation and check it there. It’s free to download on the main Swim Smooth site.
They have a number of other products, from DVDs to swim suits designed for each swim type, and also conduct workshops in the UK. I haven’t had the chance to try these yet. I have no idea about the size of the operation, but my exchanges with them have been very attentive, and make it feel very personable, I would even describe them as the ‘mom and pop’s’ of swimming.